District Testing Information

Department of Education (DoE) required Assessments

Smarter Balanced (ELA and Math Assessment)

MSAA (Alternate ELA and Math Assessment)

SDSA and SDSA Alt (South Dakota Science Assessment)

South Dakota Alternate Assessment English Language Arts (ELA), Math, and Science

Home School Testing



Elementary Assessments


DIBELS Early Release Math

STAR Math and STAR Reading

Optional High School Assessments

National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)

Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)



Department of Education (DOE) required assessments:


Smarter Balanced (ELA and Math Assessment) Grades 3 - 8 and 11.  Testing window March 8 - May 7,2021

Estimated Testing Times for Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments

English Language Arts/Literacy

Grades 3–5 Total: 3:30

Grades 6–8 Total: 3:30

Grades11 Total: 4:00


Grades 3–5 Total: 2:30

Grades 6–8 Total: 3:00

 Grade 11 Total: 3:30

Times are estimates of test length for most students.

South Dakota is part of the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC. The SBAC is a consortium of states that have been working collaboratively to develop a student assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and math. South Dakota is one of 21 governing states, which allows the state decision-making participation. The remaining six are advisory states.

The SBAC focus is on assessing students annually in grades 3-8 and 11. The system includes both summative and interim assessments and will use computer adaptive testing technologies to the greatest extent possible to provide meaningful feedback and actionable data that teachers and other educators can use to help students succeed. Want to learn more?  Go to http://www.smarterbalanced.org/parents/.

  • Results will be sent home with final report cards at the end of the school year.



MSAA (Alternate ELA and Math Assessment) Testing window March 15 - April 30, 2021

Alternate Assessment is available for students who have met the significant cognitive disability criteria. These students are working with the Core Content Connectors and their IEP’s indicate alternate assessment for statewide testing.

  • Results will be sent out as soon as the DOE makes them available to us



SDSA and SDSA Alt (South Dakota Science Assessment).  Testing Window March 8 - May 7, 2021

The South Dakota Science tests measures students’ mastery of the South Dakota State Academic Standards in Science adopted in May 2015 at grades 5, 8, and 11. This test will cover the grade spans of 3-5, 6-8, and high school. Questions will come equally as possible from life, physical, and earth sciences at all 3 tested levels. This assessment will be completely online.



South Dakota Alternate Assessment English Language Arts (ELA), Math, and Science

Alternate Assessment is available for students who have met the significant cognitive disability criteria. These students are working with the Core Content Connectors and their IEP’s indicate alternate assessment for statewide testing.

  • Results will be sent out as soon as the DOE makes them available to us.



Home School Testing - Testing Window March 22 - April 16, 2021

South Dakota students who receive alternative instruction are required to take a nationally standardized achievement test in Mathematics and Reading at grades, 4, 8 and 11 (grade 2 no longer required). The South Dakota Department of Education provides, free of charge, a norm-referenced test to children who receive alternative instruction. If parents/guardians use a different test than the one provided by the state, it must be a nationally standardized achievement test. These different tests will be at the expense of the parent/guardian and results need to be shared with the school district. 

Please contact the school, before or during, if you have a student in grades 4, 8 and 11 to get testing materials.

  • Results will be sent out in the spring or following fall based on when they become available.



NAEP – National Assessment of Educational Progress – TBD

The NAEP is given to a sampling of students across the nation. The results of the NAEP are given for the entire nation and for individual states. Results are also given for specific groups of students, e.g. gender, racial and ethnic groups, and National School Lunch Program eligibility. Results are not available for schools or individual students.

The NAEP is given to many South Dakota students in reading and mathematics at grades 4, 8, and 12 every two years. National and state results are reported to the public. Several other subjects are tested in different years with only national level results reported. This test blueprints and NAEP frameworks are determined by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB).



ACCESS 2.0 & ACCESS ALT. - January 25 - February 26, 2021

Identified students assess each year until they test out @ 5.0

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0® stands for Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners. This large-scale test addresses the academic English language proficiency (ELP) standards at the core of the WIDA Consortium's approach to instructing and evaluating the progress of English learners. ACCESS for ELLs is taken annually by identified English learners to measure their English proficiency. The South Dakota Department of Education requires ELs in Grades 1-12 be administered the online version except in cases where online testing is not allowed. There are many benefits to the online testing, increased student engagement through the more dynamic testing experience, built-in accommodations, and accessibility features appropriate, to name a few. With the online version, multiple grades can be administered and finally, increased ease for TAs, who will no longer need to administer and score the Speaking test one-on-one. Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs continues to be paper-based and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs will remain the same. ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 paper-based assessment will be available for districts that are not allowed online testing. The paper-based version will also be available as an accommodation.


More information about these required assessments can be found here: 



Additional assessments used by the district for benchmark and progress monitoring: Benchmark assessments are short tests administered throughout the school year that give teachers immediate feedback on how students are meeting academic standards. Regular use of benchmark assessments is seen by many as a tool to measure student growth and design curriculum to meet individual learning needs. Progress monitoring is the practice of testing students briefly but frequently on the skill areas in which they are receiving instruction, to ensure that they are making adequate progress


Elementary Assessments

 DIBELS Next is used with students in grades Junior Kindergarten through 5th grade.

DIBELS stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills, and is comprised of six measures that function as indicators of the essential skills that every child must master to become a proficient reader. The DIBELS® measures are brief (most take one minute to administer), and are used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills. DIBELS was designed for use in identifying children experiencing difficulty in the acquisition of basic early literacy skills, in order to provide support early and prevent the occurrence of later reading difficulties. The DIBELS assessments are given three times a year – fall, winter, and spring.

  • Parents are given the results every quarter and at parent-teacher conferences.  End of the year results are sent home with report cards.


DIBELS Early Release Math

DIBELS Math is a set of brief, standardized, indicators of early numeracy, computation, and problem solving skills for grades K–6. DIBELS Math consists of materials for universal screening three times a year and more frequent progress monitoring. The Early Numeracy measures are given individually to students measures are group administered to students in grades 1–6. The Concepts and Applications measures are group administered in grades 2–6. DIBELS Math is aligned with the Common Core Standards in Mathematics. The DIBELS assessments are given three times a year – fall, winter, and spring.

  • Parents are given the results every quarter and at parent-teacher conferences.  End of the year results are sent home with report cards.


Star Math and Star Reading assessments are used for students in grades 2nd to 6th

Star Assessments are short tests that provide teachers with learning data. Star tests are computer adaptive, which means they adjust to each answer your child provides. This helps teachers get the best data to help your child in the shortest amount of testing time (about one-third of the time other tests take). Teachers analyze the data they get from Star Assessments to learn what students already know and what they are ready to learn next, to monitor student growth, and to determine which students may need additional help. Star Assessments are heavily researched and scientifically proven to help teachers guide each student on his or her unique path to mastery. By pinpointing exactly what your child knows, teachers can personalize your child’s practice to keep them growing. Plus, short test times ensure your child spends more time learning and less time testing. The assessments are given beginning, middle and end of the year.

  • Parents are given the results every quarter and at parent-teacher conferences.  End of the year results are sent home with report cards.

For more information about Star Testing:  https://www.renaissance.com/2016/09/09/parents-guide-star-assessments/?_ga=2.245748291.657452512.1508275016-1267221592.1501703398



Optional High School assessments:



NCRC (National Career Readiness Certificate) Grade 12, TBD

The South Dakota Department of Education (DOE) and the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) offer juniors and seniors the opportunity to participate in the ACT® National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) program.

The NCRC is an industry-recognized, portable credential certifying essential skills needed for workplace success. To earn certification, students must attain at least the lowest certification level on three ACT® WorkKeys assessments: Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information. This vital initiative is part of the Department of Education’s goal to ensure that, “All students graduate college, career, and life ready.”

DLR staff will assist in assessing the students on-site at local schools and the cost of one test per student is covered by the State. School staff need to supply the space and one computer per student, as this is a computer-based test. Students are allowed 55 minutes each for the three assessments. The number of students assessed is a local decision, and the initial cost is covered by the State.

The NCRC is also incorporated into the College and Career Readiness (CCR) indicator for the School Performance Index (SPI). Additional information describing the CCR indicator and SPI points can be found in the ESSA State Plan at http://doe.sd.gov/ESSA/. This initiative can help students demonstrate they are ready for the workplace as they enter the workforce immediately after graduation or pursue further post-secondary education.

  • Scores are sent to the school to be distributed to students as soon as possible.



ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) is given to High School Juniors. Seniors can take it if they missed it their junior year or want to retake in order to improve their score. October 7th 8:25 AM

ASVAB is a multiple-aptitude battery that measures developed abilities and helps predict future academic and occupational success in the military. It is administered annually to more than one million military applicants, high school, and post-secondary students. The assessment is given by a Proctor from the military and the National Guard will explain results to students usually within a month following the assessment.

  • The Computerized ASVAB 

The computerized ASVAB (called the CAT-ASVAB) is an adaptive test, which means that the test adapts to your ability level.  The computer software selects items that are suitable for you, based on your responses to earlier items in the test. Because the     CAT-ASVAB is targeted toward your ability level, it is possible to administer a shorter test than is used in the paper and pencil administration.  More details on how the CAT-ASVAB works are given on page 3. 

You are allowed to complete the CAT-ASVAB at your own pace.  That is, when you complete a test in the battery, you can immediately move on to the next section without waiting for everyone else to move on.  You may leave the test room as soon as you are finished with all of the tests. Although each test has a fixed number of questions and a time limit (see page 3), most examinees finish the test before the time limit is reached.  The average examinee takes about 1 1/2 hours to complete the CAT-ASVAB.

You are not able to review or change your answers once you have submitted an answer on the CAT-ASVAB.  If you are running out of time, it is best to continue trying to answer as best as you can, rather than filling in random guesses for the remaining items, as the CAT-ASVAB has a penalty for guessing

  • Areas Assessed

General Science (GS) Knowledge of physical and biological sciences

Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) Ability to solve arithmetic word problems

Word Knowledge (WK) Ability to select the correct meaning of a word presented in context and to identify best synonym for a given word

Paragraph Comprehension (PC) Ability to obtain information from written passages

Mathematics Knowledge (MK) Knowledge of high school mathematics principles

Electronics Information (EI) Knowledge of electricity and electronics

†Auto Information (AI) Knowledge of automobile technology Science/Technical

†Shop Information (SI) Knowledge of tools and shop terminology and practices

Mechanical Comprehension (MC) Knowledge of mechanical and physical principles

Assembling Objects (AO) Ability to determine how an object will look when its parts are put together

  • ASVAB Test Lengths and Time Limits

Total 145 Questions 154 Minutes